How To Measure Kitchen Cabinets

Any form of remodeling requires you to analyze each aspect of the space in question. This includes the color theme, floor planning, brightness, and most importantly, measurements.

Accurate measurements enable you to get the right fittings for doors, windows, curtains, wall hangings, and even kitchen cabinets.

A step-by-step process using a tape measure, calculator, level ruler, and something to write on can help you measure kitchen cabinets accurately.

Here is why measuring your kitchen cabinets is essential and how you can do it.

Understanding Kitchen Cabinets

When planning a kitchen renovation, it’s essential to understand the different types of kitchen cabinets and how to properly measure them. In this section, we’ll briefly cover various kitchen cabinet styles and sizes, as well as the materials that you may encounter during the renovation process.

Types of Kitchen Cabinets:

There are several common kitchen cabinet styles that you’ll typically find in most homes. These include:

  • Base Cabinets: These cabinets serve as the foundation for your countertops and provide storage on the lower part of the kitchen.
  • Wall Cabinets: Often called upper cabinets, these are mounted on the wall, providing additional storage above countertops and appliances.
  • Tall Cabinets: Also known as pantry or utility cabinets, tall cabinets serve as standalone storage units or can be integrated into a pantry area.
  • Corner Cabinets: These cabinets make the most of the space in the corners of your kitchen layout.

Standard Cabinet Sizes:

Kitchen cabinet dimensions can vary, but some standard sizes exist. Here are the common cabinet widths, heights, and depths for base, wall, and tall cabinets:

  • Base Cabinets:
    • Widths: 12-48 inches in 3-inch increments
    • Heights: 34.5 inches
    • Depths: 24 inches
  • Wall Cabinets:
    • Widths: 12-36 inches in 3-inch increments
    • Heights: 12-42 inches in 3-inch increments
    • Depths: 12, 15, or 18 inches
  • Tall Cabinets:
    • Widths: 12-36 inches in 3-inch increments
    • Heights: 84, 90, or 96 inches
    • Depths: 12, 15, or 18 inches

Keep in mind that these dimensions are general guidelines, and custom cabinets can be designed to fit your specific kitchen space and needs.

Cabinet Materials:

Kitchen cabinets are usually made from various materials, with plywood being a popular choice for its strength and durability. Other materials include medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and hardwood. Each material has its pros and cons, so be sure to consider your budget and desired aesthetic when selecting the cabinet material for your kitchen renovation project.

With this knowledge, you’re better equipped to understand the various aspects of kitchen cabinets before diving into the process of planning and measuring your kitchen space. This will ensure a smoother renovation process and a result that best suits your needs.

Why Do You Need to Measure a Kitchen Cabinet

Sketching out your floor plan makes the design process faster as well as smoother. Actual measurements give you all the information you or your renovator needs.

This applies to your bathroom, living room, bedroom, and specifically your kitchen.

As a central feature of the kitchen, the cabinets create the overall look of the space. They can make your kitchen look bigger, brighter, more open, and modern.

On the other hand, ill-fitted cabinets can create a tardy, unsightly appearance.

Most homeowners look online for pictures of samples when they are remodeling their homes.

You might find something that piques your interest, but before you buy it, you need to know if it’s the right fit. Many online products and samples provide their measurements for your ease.

Taking accurate and complete measurements is the only way to know if they are right for your kitchen.

The process of ordering and installing the ready-to assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets is more straightforward when you have proper measurements.

Alternatively, if you wish to reconstruct your cabinets or have a custom cabinet built, accurate measurements become even more essential.

They act as a guide for your interior designer or renovator to work with. It makes it easier for them to come up with a design that fits in your kitchen.

Most manufacturers follow standard dimensions for semi-custom or stock cabinets.

They also come in an impressive variety of stock sizes, with accessories and fillers to cover up odd spaces.

However, measuring your kitchen cabinets helps you get the best option for your unique requirements.

Lastly, knowing your kitchen cabinet measurements help you determine a budget for your kitchen’s renovation. This can save you a lot of money that you can use to renovate other house areas.

How To Measure Kitchen Cabinets

Measuring your kitchen cabinets is not a difficult task, but it does require a few steps. Remember to keep all your measurements in inches.

Here are some of the things you might need for your measurements:

  • Tape measure
  • Step stool or ladder
  • Pencil
  • Notepad
  • Planning grid or scratch paper
  • Calculator
  • Level ruler

Measuring Your Kitchen

The first step is to measure your kitchen itself. This will help you know how much space you have to work with and which cabinets you can install.

Here is how you can draw out your kitchen’s floorplan.

  1. You can start by drawing a rough sketch. The room might be a U or L shape and may have an island peninsula in the center.
  2. Measure the room from wall to wall, and note down the value on your notepad. This will give you the size of the kitchen.
  3. Measure along the walls, windows, and doors. Use the outsides of the trim as your marker for windows or doors.
  4. Keep taking these measurements, which will divide your wall into sections. You can tally with the overall wall length to know whether the measurements are correct.
  5. Take vertical measurements of kitchen walls, the space from the window sill to the floor, and from the bottom of the cabinets to the counter.
  6. Measure the distance from the floor to the top of your countertops. This will help ensure that each surface is at the same level.
  7. Draw in any appliances as a rectangle box, i.e., refrigerator, oven, freezer, etc.
  8. Include any fixtures, wirings, electrical supplies, or air vents in your sketch. This could save you from having to refit the entire cabinet to make room for them.
  9. Note where your light fixtures are, as you don’t want cabinets to reduce the room’s brightness by blocking the light.

Measuring the Cabinets

Once again, keeping all measurements in inches, you can begin measuring your existing kitchen cabinets.

This will provide a standard size if you are looking to buy ready to assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets.

Here is how you can measure your cabinets, whether base cabinets, tall cabinets, or wall cabinets.

  1. Measure the width of the cabinet, i.e., the space between the hinges. This will determine how many units can fit in your area.
  2. Measure the cabinet’s depth, i.e., the space from the door to the back of the cabinet.
  3. Measure the cabinet’s heights, i.e., from the base to the top of each section or shelf.
  4. Measure the height of the cabinet from the kitchen countertop to its base.
  5. Measure the space between your ceiling and the top of the cabinet.
  6. You should account for wall corners, particularly if you want corner cabinets. Square corners make fittings easy, but unevenness can be corrected with shims.
  7. To check the squareness, measure 3 feet out from the corner of one wall and mark it. Next, measure 4 feet from the adjacent wall and mark it. The distance between them should be 5 feet to indicate a square corner.
  8. Consider any wirings or switchboards inside the cabinets as they might need to be adjusted.

You might need two to three different drawings in order to paint an accurate picture. Remember to double-check your measurements for accuracy.

Although it seems tedious, it will save you a lot of money, time, and effort in the long run.

Dealing with Kitchen Features and Obstructions

When measuring kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to take into account various features and obstructions in your kitchen. Here’s how to deal with them:

Identify the features and obstructions: First, make a list of all elements in your kitchen, such as electrical outlets, gas lines, water lines, drain lines, radiators, large appliances, light switches, vents, and so on. Also, pay attention to openings like doors and windows. This step-by-step guide can help you understand the details you need to focus on while measuring.

Sketch your kitchen layout: Begin by drawing your kitchen layout on graph paper. Make sure to mark the location of all your kitchen features and obstructions. This helps you visualize the space and plan your cabinets accordingly. If you have an L-shaped kitchen or an island, take that into account while designing your cabinet layout.

Measure wall lengths and vertical measurements: Measure the full wall lengths of each section, factoring in windows, doors, and trims. Don’t forget to account for the height and depth of any soffits or tall kitchen cabinets.

Consider plumbing and electrical locations: When planning your cabinet placement, think about the location of plumbing and electrical features, such as water supply lines, gas lines, and electrical outlets. You want your cabinets to fit around these essentials without blocking access to them.

Outline special considerations for large appliances: Take note of the dimensions and location of your oven, dishwasher, and other large kitchen appliances. Filler pieces might be required to adjust gaps between cabinets and appliances. This ensures a perfect fit for your kitchen remodel.

Factor in storage needs and furniture: When planning cabinet sizes and placements, consider your storage needs and furniture. This helps you select the right cabinet configurations for your kitchen, without accidentally obstructing the flow of space.

By considering all these aspects in your measurements, you’ll be able to plan your new kitchen cabinets efficiently, adapting them to your unique space and requirements.

Special Consideration for Appliance and Utility Spaces

When measuring kitchen cabinets, it is essential to account for the space required by appliances and utilities. Here are a few pointers to help you accurately measure these areas and avoid any potential issues.

  • Appliances: The dimensions of your appliances have a direct impact on the overall layout of your kitchen. Whether you’re purchasing new appliances or working with existing ones, note down the measurements for all appliances in your kitchen. This includes the height, width, and depth. You can find the dimensions in the appliance manuals or by referring to the manufacturer’s website.
  • Utilities: Amidst your planning, don’t forget to consider the placement of utilities such as electrical outlets, gas lines, water lines, drain lines, light switches, hood vents, and heating vents. These are essential to the functionality of your kitchen and need to be accessible. A helpful practice is to mark their locations on your floor plan.
  • Door hinges and handles: When measuring spaces for your appliances, take into account door hinges and handles. They can obstruct surrounding cabinets and must be factored into the total measurements.
  • Corners: For cabinets placed in a corner, add allowances for the spaces required to open doors fully. Consider the style of your cabinet doors and hinges to ensure proper opening and access.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you measure spaces for appliances and utilities:

  1. Make sure all of the appliances are switched off and disconnected before you start measuring.
  2. Use a reliable tape measure and, if needed, ask someone to assist you.
  3. Begin by measuring the width, height, and depth of each appliance, taking note of the dimensions.
  4. Measure the distance between appliances and surrounding cabinets, walls, or utilities.
  5. Carefully jot down each measurement, labeling them clearly alongside the respective appliances.
  6. Verify that you’ve allowed enough space for door hinges and handles, as well as any required clearance for utility lines or vents.
  7. Lastly, incorporate these measurements into your overall kitchen cabinet design, ensuring that everything fits and functions smoothly.

By paying special attention to appliance and utility spaces, you will create a seamless, functional, and well-organized kitchen layout that caters to all your needs.

Choosing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Your wall length can help you determine which kinds of cabinets will suit your kitchen.

You could opt for a single door or double door cabinet or a combination of both. Similarly, corner cabinets are something to consider.

Base cabinets are those which are installed directly on the floor. They can act as your countertop or as a peninsula island.

They must accommodate your sink, oven, dishwasher, and other appliances. The countertop itself usually overlaps the base cabinets at the front.

They may also require adjustments for drawers or pull-out shelves.

Wall cabinets are primarily used for storage and are attached to the wall studs with screws.

They come in many designs, acting as a showpiece for the kitchen. Many people have in-cabinet lighting or glass inserts. They come above the countertop and below the cleaning.

Tall cabinets or pantry cabinets are present in most kitchens for storage purposes.

Many extend from floor to ceiling, providing enough space to store essentials such as brooms, mops, appliances, and other accessories.

You have the liberty to choose the number of shelves you want to be inserted in each cabinet. This will vary according to the purpose you are using the cabinet for.

Many have adjustable levels to make them convenient for multi-purpose use.

Since you have all the measurements you need, you can use a combination of these three types of cabinets. Once the fittings are approved, you can move onto their designs and construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the proper method for measuring cabinet width?

To measure the width of a kitchen cabinet, first, ensure all doors and drawers are closed. Then, simply use a measuring tape to measure from the left outer edge to the right outer edge of the cabinet. Remember to measure in a straight line and jot down the measurements in inches. This process ensures you get the accurate dimensions for your cabinets.

How can I accurately measure kitchen cabinet doors?

Accurately measuring kitchen cabinet doors is essential in making sure they fit correctly. Start by measuring the width of the door, from the left outer edge to the right outer edge. Next, measure the height of the door, from the top outer edge to the bottom outer edge. Make sure to capture these measurements in inches, and be mindful of any decorative molding, as this can affect the measurements.

What tools do I need for cabinet measurement?

For precise cabinet measurements, you will need a few essential tools:

  • Measuring tape: A reliable, retractable measuring tape is crucial for accurate measurements.
  • Pencil and paper: Use these to jot down your measurements, ensuring you have a record to refer to later.
  • Grid paper: Sketch your kitchen layout on grid paper, which will help you visualize the space and plan measurements.

How do I determine the correct size for my kitchen sink cabinet?

To determine the correct size for your kitchen sink cabinet, first, measure the width and depth of your sink. Keep in mind that the sink cabinet needs to be slightly wider and deeper to accommodate the sink and any necessary plumbing. As a general rule, allow for an additional 2 to 3 inches on either side of the sink, and at least 1 to 2 inches in depth.

How do I measure and install kitchen cabinets?

Measuring and installing kitchen cabinets is a multi-step process that requires careful planning. Here’s a brief outline:

  1. Draw a detailed floor plan of your kitchen layout using grid paper.
  2. Measure the total length of each wall, as well as the width and height of windows, doors, and any wall space between them.
  3. Mark the location of all electrical outlets, light switches, gas lines, water lines, drain lines, hood vents, and heating and air vents.
  4. Use these measurements to design the layout of your cabinets, considering factors such as accessibility and workflow.
  5. Once your cabinets are delivered, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling and installing them.

What are the steps for calculating the material needed for kitchen cabinets?

Calculating the material required for kitchen cabinets involves the following steps:

  1. Determine the dimensions of each cabinet, including width, height, and depth.
  2. Calculate the total square footage of each cabinet by multiplying the width, height, and depth.
  3. Add up the square footage of all cabinets to get the total square footage needed.
  4. Calculate the amount of material required for additional elements, such as molding or decorative elements.
  5. Determine the type of materials you would like to use for your cabinets, and consult with a professional to ensure you have accurately calculated the necessary materials.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your kitchen cabinets are properly measured and installed, giving your space a functional and appealing design.


Using a rough estimate can end up with your island cabinets being too close to the wall or having doors that bump into the cabinet doors.

In some cases, your kitchen might not comply with building codes. This can make it harder for you to sell your house if the need arises.

In order to avoid such nuisances, you should take careful measurements and draw a preliminary floor plan.

They will give you a clearer idea of the space you have to work with. Finally, knowing how to measure kitchen cabinets beforehand can save you the trouble of having them refitted or redesigned.

Other articles you may also like: